Kaiser High student's creation flying high


The sky’s the limit for Kaiser High’s Aaron Nee, who saw his design revealed on an Alaska Airlines jet. In partnership with the Department, Alaska Airlines held the “Paint the Plane” contest to encourage students to create a design for the carrier’s “Spirit of the Islands” jet. Aaron’s design was voted the top the design among more than 2,700 entries statewide.

The contest

Aaron’s design was voted the top the design among more than 2,700 entries statewide.

His winning design displays a voyaging canoe depicting how Polynesians first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands, a bright yellow hibiscus (the state flower), the Hawaiian Island chain and the phrase "Spirit of the Islands." The Kaiser High School senior finished last year with nearly all As, and was a decorated member of the school's Air Force ROTC program. Known for his artistic ability and interest in graphic design and athletics, Aaron plans to invest his $5,000 winnings for college, and with his free rountrip flight for four plans to take his family to visit relatives in New York, where he hopes to see snow for the first time.

A few fun facts about the “Spirit of the Islands” jet:

  • The 129-foot-long Boeing 737-800 has a wingspan of 117 feet and a cruising speed of 530 miles per hour.
  • The plane can accommodate 157 passengers and six crew members.
  • A crew of 18 worked around the close for 24 days in Everett, Washington, to paint the plane, which required 26 colors and about 140 gallons of paint, including 20 gallons of primer. In addition, 28,800 yards of masking tape were used.


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